Finding Out What Are Your Customer Journeys
Need some help figuring out what actually are the authentic journeys your customers are on? Ask them. People love talking about themselves and if you ask them for some help because you're seeking to understand them better then you'll be surprised how generous people will be.
I'm not talking about sucking personal data out of them, I'm talking about information that will help you understand what was happening with them in the lead up to connecting with your business. How did you fit in that experience?
I've found that saying that as it's my own business and I would love some direct, plain speaking feedback on things and when standing out with a couple of questions the discussions can be really illuminating. You certainly need to leave your ego at the door for the best conversations, particularly if you've asked for some plain speaking but it is well worth it.
These conversations have let me see my designs from a range of different points of view and with fresh eyes. I've never had anything horrible said to me, I have had some frank comments such as I don't like this because it looks this way to me, followed by, I like this design because I think it is beautiful. I purposefully make a range of designs to appeal to different people so to have these types of conversations are great insights into my different customers.
I also ask what they have been doing and what is happening with them, I get them into conversations learn about what sort of journey my various customers are on.
How you have these conversations will depend on your business, whether it is over the counter, taking key clients out to lunch, having a coffee on a sales visit or at an event. What is important is having the conversations with the range of customer profiles that support your enterprise.
Finding Your Own Customer Journey Exercise
Ask customers of different products and services what they like and dislike about what you're offering - be sure they feel comfortable giving you honest and plain spoken feedback - so leave your ego somewhere else!
Talk with your customers about what's been happening with their day - before and after interacting with you. Ask some open questions and see where the conversation goes. It will take a bit of practice to nurture these conversations and keep them to a time frame that fits with looking after your other customers.
Write up a list of your favourite customers, the ones you enjoy doing business with, who spend well and pay on time, and detail what you know about them so you can start seeing where your business fit in their lives, whether it is in their personal or business lives. Are they relaxed or stressed by the time they get to you? Are you providing a solution that is going to make their life easier, let them meet their manager's requirements or make something go faster or smoother?
The key is putting yourself in their shoes and facing their pressures or pleasures. If you're going to take the pressure off them that someone else is applying then your marketing and conversation language will be different than if they are planning a weekend get away.
If you're a visual person like many of us are you might find drawing out what is happening with your customers with their journeys so you can see where you might fit. This could be a mind map, a large sheet of paper with textures (it's amazing how colour sparks idea flows) showing a road with various elements in your customer's life, interconnecting circles, there's all manner of ways to do this, just as long it works for you, that's all that matters.
Write a list of the language, the words and phrases, customers use in these journeys. Compare this list to what you're using with them. Where are the opportunities to improve communication and connections?
Through these types of exercises you might discover new types of customers, alternative times when you fit into their journeys or even new bundling of products and services. Either way, I promise you, understanding your customer better and communicating in ways and at times that fit with them will have a far better return on your investment of time and money than churning out mission statements.
Example busiensses with: Bed and Breakfast Tourism business, Solar panel business and a SEO and Content Marketing business.